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Pulled That Cake Out Of The Oven Way Too Early

, , , , | Working | May 7, 2021

I work as a decorator at a bakery. It isn’t a chain place but it turns out to be a great place to exercise my decorating skills. Eventually, I plan to go back to school for more advanced decorating classes. I have been helping my boss interview for my replacement.

The candidates are two ladies around twenty-five and an older woman. The two younger ladies are lovely and make a really good impression, while the older lady acts really arrogant. At the end of the interview, she seems to be convinced that she has already gotten the job. My boss, sensing the same vibes, makes it very clear that no decisions will be made right away.

A few days later, before the boss man has made a decision about who to hire, the older woman calls back. She manages to speak to one of my coworkers, who was not part of the interview process. 

Coworker: “Hello?”

Older Woman: “Hi! I’m phoning to talk to your boss. He hired me a few days ago and I want to know when he wants me to come in.”

Coworker: *Oblivious* “Well, he’s not here right now. I’ll take a message so he can call you back.”

Older Woman: “Okay!”

[Boss] comes in, gets the message, and tells [Coworker] that he hasn’t hired anyone yet. [Older Woman] phones back before [Boss] gets a chance to call her.

Boss: “I’m sorry for the confusion, but you have only been in for an interview—”

Older Woman: *Interrupting* “Oh, no, I’m not confused at all. You hired me. Just tell me my starting date.”

Boss: “There is no starting date yet. I haven’t decided to hire anyone yet.”

Older Woman: “Don’t you remember me? I was here with my fiancée and you hired me.”

Boss: “Um, no, I didn’t.”

Older Woman: “Yes, you did. You shook my hand and told me that you would call me with my starting date, but you seem to have forgotten. Just tell me when to come in on my first day of work.”

Boss: “Ma’am, no one has been hired yet. Not you and not any of the other candidates. You’ve only had an interview. You still have to demonstrate your decorating abilities before you can even be considered for hiring.”

[Older Woman] gets very irate and hangs up. The boss puts NAGF (Not A Good Fit) in red ink on the woman’s resume and puts it away.

Later in the day, the woman’s fiancé calls. He’s basically screaming with rage, and it takes [Boss] a bit to get the guy calmed down enough to even understand who the heck he is and why he’s so peeved.

Fiancé: “You know you can’t do that, right?! You know it’s bad business practice to tell someone they’re hired and then not hire them!”

Boss: “No one has been hired. Your fiancé hasn’t gotten far enough in the hiring process to join the team yet.”

Fiancé: “Oh, I get it! You’re discriminating against her! You know it’s illegal to refuse to hire someone based on age! Let me lay it out for you: either you hold up your end of the bargain and tell my fiancé what her starting date is or we’re going straight to the labor board to report you!”

Boss: *Coldly* “You go ahead and try that.”

He hung up on the fiancé. Nothing came of their threats, and in the end, we hired both of the younger ladies, who passed the decorating tests with flying colors. I went back to school feeling glad that we had made the right choices for the bakery.

What A Load Of Bull

, , , , , | Working | May 6, 2021

I’m a biologist at a small startup biotech company, small enough that we don’t have a human resources department, only an HR consultant who shows up once a week. As such, in addition to our regular jobs, the scientists are in charge of reading resumes, interviewing candidates, etc. Frankly, it’s kind of a fun break from our lab work, and it’s helpful for us to have a hand in identifying the candidates who would be easiest to work with.

My lab work involves the cryopreservation of an experimental vaccine, which means finding ways to keep it stable at extremely cold temperatures. (No, it’s not one of the vaccines for the current health crisis.)

One of my colleagues has just finished interviewing a candidate for a Research Associate — entry-level — position. It’s my turn to interview him next, even though the candidate wouldn’t be working in my department. My colleague smiles at me in the hall and hands me his information.

Colleague: “This will be interesting.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Colleague: “You’ll see.”

I enter the interview room. The candidate is a typical guy just out of college, wearing a nice suit, and he has the most smug look on his face I’ve ever seen. I introduce myself, tell him a little about my department’s goal of cryopreserving a particular vaccine, and start to ask questions about his experience. After a while, he interrupts himself.

Candidate: “By the way, I know how to solve your problem.”

Me: “What problem?”

Candidate: “Cryopreservation.”

This is essentially the primary research goal of my whole department, so I’m curious to hear what someone who just walked in our doors might think is the way to “solve our problem.”

Candidate: “Bull semen.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Candidate: “Bull semen. It helps with cryopreservation.”

Me: “Are you saying… we should add bull semen to our vaccine?”

Candidate: “Yup!”

He sits back, smiles, and crosses his hands behind his head, and then he says something I’ll never forget.

Candidate: “But I’m not going to give you all my good ideas today. First, you have to hire me.”

I was somehow able to keep a straight face through the rest of the interview. Discussing it with colleagues later, we concluded that he must have Googled “cryopreservation” before arriving and read that cryopreservation is often used in the cattle industry with bull semen. He then decided that this tangentially related thing he just learned must be the solution to our problems and that he could use this as a bargaining chip to get hired.

We did not hire him. And we did not add bull semen to our vaccine. But “I’m not going to give you all my good ideas today” became an inside joke around the lab for a while.

A Little Class In Class Will Pay Off Later On

, , , , , , | Working | April 28, 2021

High school was a difficult time for me. I was the “smart kid”: straight-A student, top of my class, the one everybody wanted for group projects. And I was the one everybody forgot was there when recess came. I wasn’t quite bullied, but I was ignored A LOT.

To make things worse, I was diagnosed with a tricky disability in my senior year and was extremely ill, in and out of hospitals all through that year. My grades naturally slipped a bit, and at that point, the few people who talked to me regularly dropped me like a hot potato. Obviously, now that I was only a B student and couldn’t do the whole group project on my own, I was no longer necessary. By the middle of the year, only the “weirdos” from two classes below me even acknowledged I existed. (Great guys. We’re still friends!)

Fast forward several years. My disability is well under control and my career is taking off. I am to be the project manager on a big project in a prestigious engineering firm and I’m involved in hiring more people to the team. We call in a guy whose resume looks promising, and this exchange happens as soon as he is introduced to the interviewing panel.

Candidate: “[My Name]?! Wow, it’s been so long I didn’t recognize you! How’s it going?”

Me: “I’m sorry, do we know each other?”

Candidate: “What, you don’t remember me? I’m [Candidate]! We went to high school together.”

I figure maybe he is someone from another class aiming for a leg up, but I still have no clue who he is.

Me: “Ah, well. That was almost ten years ago and was a difficult time. I’m afraid I don’t remember you. But anyway, your resume…”

Candidate: “Oh, come on! You have to remember me! [Candidate]? We were in the same class all the way through! I think you even had a crush on me!”

Me: “I beg your pardon?”

Candidate: “Yeah, you totally had a crush on me! You were always up for helping me with homework, and you were game to include me on group projects and then do my share. Pretty sure you did everyone’s share! Ha, no point risking your grade being lower, right? You were a weird little girl!”

I remember him now. I did have a crush on him for a while and “helped” him a lot with schoolwork (meaning I did it for him). It’s bad enough to bring that up in an interview, but… 

Me: “Ah, yes. [Candidate]. I remember you now. You were the one who started yelling out that the [ableist slur] was coming when my disability first started. And stepping back in corridors or crossing the street when I walked by. And telling people they should stay away from the [other ableist slur] or they’d become losers like me, too.”

Candidate: “Er… I… Well, I was young, and…”

Me: “Thank you for reminding me of all this. Turns out it saves us some time.”

Candidate: “But… my interview?”

My Boss: “I think we can all agree that we’re done here.”

He seemed sincerely shocked that he didn’t get the job!

This story is part of our Best Of April 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of April 2021 roundup story!

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You Thought The Customers Were Bad?

, , , , | Working | April 14, 2021

After the better part of twenty years in customer service and retail jobs, I’ve had it. After I complete a couple of data entry contract gigs, my wife gets a new job and we move. I send out my resumes and get a nibble. Everything’s fine until the interview comes to an end.

Interviewer: “We’re not able to pay as much as your last job—”

It’s $2 less, but it’s within our budget.

Interviewer: “—but we think you’ll be a good fit. Our next orientation is in one week, and this is the address for our phone bank.”

Me: “Oh, is your training facility there?”

Interviewer: “No, you’ll just be shadowing for a while before we put you on the phone to call clients.”

Me: *Pauses* “Am I being interviewed for the right position? My resume specifically said I was looking for data entry, not customer service.”

Interviewer: “Right, and 90% of your work will be data entry.”

Me: “And the remaining 10% is customer service, which is a dealbreaker.”

Interviewer: “It’s not customer service!”

Me: “Are these clients business associates, or am I taking requests or troubleshooting from people outside the industry?”

Interviewer: “Well, you’re cold-calling people, but you’re offering them great deals!”

Me: “That’s customer service. Do you have anything where I won’t be interacting with the general public?”

Interviewer: “Uh, we have a records entry and verification area, but that’s—”

They describe a pay that’s an additional $3 cheaper, which is much harder for the budget, but better for my sanity.

Me: “I’d like to interview for that, if I could.”

Interviewer: “But this pays more!”

Me: “And it’s something I specifically said on my resume I was not available for and would not do.”

Interview: “Fine, I’ll see if they’re hiring. We’ll call you back.”

They did not call me back.

Your First Mistake Was Having A Personality

, , , | Working | March 10, 2021

I’m job-hunting. I have banking experience as a lead teller and I get interviewed by a bank. It goes well, and I get a call from Human Resources the next day.

Human Resources: “Our branch team really enjoyed meeting with you, and they’d like to advance you to the next round. Our district manager will be in town next week and would like to chat with you. Are you available on Monday at 10:00 am?”

Me: “Yes, I am!”

Human Resources: “Great! I’ll set it up. Now, we’ll be emailing you a banker skills test. It’s really just a formality at this point. You seem like a great fit for [Bank].”

Me: “I had to do a skill test at the last bank I worked for, so that’s not a problem.”

Human Resources: “Fantastic. Look for that email in the next hour. We look forward to talking to you next week!”

I get the “skills test.” It’s actually a 200-question personality test with no banking-related questions at all. I’m slightly confused but complete it anyway. There are a lot of questions about whether I feel more like a leader or follower. Since I was a lead previously, my answers go toward “leader.”

The next day, I’m running errands and I’m away from my phone for a couple of hours. When I come back to it, I notice I have a voicemail from the bank in question.

Message: “[My Name], this is [Human Resources Representative] from [Bank]. Your test results came back and you failed. We don’t think you’d be a good fit for us. Your interview for next Monday is cancelled.”

I stare at my phone in confusion.

Me: “Well, that just happened. How did I fail a personality test?!”

Thankfully, I get offered a different job soon after.